English / Parenting / Thoughts

Generation Gap

This is third part of Wednesday chain post with a subject Vinny wants me to write. Vinny asked me this question Do you think that the gap between children and parents’ age will really affect the communication between both?

My answer is yes and no.

Why is the generation gap there? Firstly it is the age difference. Parents are born in a time with different things like other values and customs than their children. Ok, some values are universal they hardly change in decades. However some customs do. A simple example is in a relationship. Older parents, in this case the fathers would insist that boys pay everything for their girlfriends, like they did. But the custom has changed. More and more girls work and have a decent income. So it becomes normal to share the check after dinner. Perhaps this is a silly example but this is the one I came up with for now.

Life phase
Adults kids explore the world but they stay their parents’ children. Parents will keep acting like parents because they think they need to. Life phase changes the situation; marriage, children become parents etc. Parents have this ‘been there done that’ attitude towards their children’s life phase. Relationship problems? Hey, I chose to marry your mum. A father says. Career dilemma? Follow your guts like a did, a mother gives this advice to her son.

What to do?
What I did with my own parents and what I am doing now with my daughter is searching for common ground for a deeper understanding. Understanding is the bridge to overcome the gap. With my parents it was through music and movies. When I got older, art came by. With my daughter is not that different. By watching movies together we discuss about many things. I do some effort to understand her world though. Even that this means to tolerate her listening to Ariana Grande for the tenth times early in the morning, I try to keep my patience :-). My parents were cool when they found out I smoked. My mum hated it but she let me. My dad understood the youngster spirit of me, trying something new and most of all trying something taboo parents would forbid. He reacted by saying; ok, I was young once. But do not expect you can ask us more allowance if your money is spent on cigarettes.

I am in the verge of a journey called being a parent of a teen, the most turbulent period for both the teen and the parent. So in my humble opinion based on my experience, parents and children need to try to understand each other better by communicating. Let them know what the expectations and limitations are. For the children; Share your dreams with your parents. For the parents; do not forget, once you were young too. Accept that your children grow as an individual adult. Love them by setting them free. They will learn from their own mistakes. And if you did it right, they will come back to you one day for parental advice because parents are a safe have for their children no matter how old they are.

Since my daughter is born in 2001, these are things her dad and I need to reckon with in order to avoid the generation gap.


Infographic is courtesy of Mark McCrindle

18 thoughts on “Generation Gap

  1. Great post and very interesting topic! The other day I was exactly talking about this with my hubby, how communication is important to keep a good relationship with kids… I really want to have that with my children, because I really lacked this with my parents, and many things could have been better! I agree with your thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

    • You are welcome Allane. When my daughter does something, I need to convince myself, I was just like her once. And put more patience to it. I hope my husband and I will pass this challenging time 🙂

  2. Another great topic! My parents are quite moderate about some things, like you they let me smoked although they did not agree with that choice but they did not banned me. Eventually I figured it out on my own. Hoping I will have a great open communication relationship with my boy. We are starting early and it is always a learning experience for us two.

    • Thank you. We are blessed with moderate parents who see us as an individual not as property, aren’t we? I mean, how many parents dictate their children how to live their life? Not only forbidding them from smoking, drinking or anything but also forcing the kids to choose schools the kids don’t want to do. You are going to be fine with your boy as you have moderate parents yourself. You will pass that on your son.

  3. Mungkin yang sebenernya bukan masalah beda umur deket atau jauh kali ya mbak tapi up date ortu sama perkembangan pergaulan anak anak jaman sekarang. Biar up date 🙂

    • Salah satunya ini. Betul ada yang beda umur ngga jauh banget tapi ngga connect. Menurutku sih coba saling mengerti, salah satunya ikuti pergaulan jaman sekarang.

  4. lam kenal Lorraine…postingan yang menarik…hmm, kadang memang kesenjangan umur bikin komunikasi kurang baik, si anak merasa orangtuanya kuno dll. Harus dua arah, timbal balik. Anak memaklumi kondisi ortu, nahh yang jadi ortu juga harus mengikuti segala perkembangan di dunia ini, supaya bisa ngikutin perkembangan anak2nya juga….baru klop dehh

    • Salam kenal juga. It is easier said than done memang. Apalagi kalo orang tuanya itu punya orang tua yang kurang komunikasi sewaktu mereka kecil/muda. Jadi orang tua ini ngga punya contoh, mereka ngga tahu harus gimana. Ini salah satu sebab konflik di generation gap menurutku.

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